📰 Read Write Respond #071

Welcome back to another month, actually make that two months. Things just got too busy in December to stop and take stock.

At work, things were in place for the end of year. I had unpacked everything and thought I had put in place a clear plan. However, what I learnt is that I was only in charge of half the picture. Things blew up in regards to aspects that were outside of my control. In addition to this, I had another issue arise that I had not accounted for take up a significant amount of time. In some ways, this reminded of Nassim Nicholas Taleb discussion of extremistan in The Black Swan:

On the 79th day, if the project is not finished, it will be expected to take another 25 days to complete. But on the 90th day, if the project is still not completed, it should have about 58 days to go. On the 100th, it should have 89 days to go. On the 119th, it should have an extra 149 days. On day 600, if the project is not done, you will be expected to need an extra 1,590 days. As you see, the longer you wait, the longer you will be expected to wait.(Page 159)

On the family front, my wife and I celebrated our fortieth. Our girls had their end of year dance concert, outdoors. We even went to children’s party at an indoor playcenter. It all feels really strange now as the number of cases where I live have skyrocketed.

On the personal front, I went to my first concert for years. I saw Twinkle Digitz and Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine. I had forgotten what I had missed. On the birthday front, I got two synthesisers, a Roland MC-101 and Behringer MS-1. After spending years thinking that it was enough to have an app, I am really enjoying the therapy of tweeking physical knobs. In regards to my listening, I have been getting into new albums from Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine and The War on Drugs. While I continued with my return to books, diving into Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting and Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way.

Here then are some of the posts that have had me thinking:


How music boosts learning and wellbeing (Big Ideas)

Anita Collins unpacks a number of benefits associated with music, including the association between hearing, speaking and reading, the importance of melodies in voice to aid cognitive development, the connection between singing and empathy, the link between rhythm and learning to read, and how learning a new instrument at 40-50 can help reduce cognitive decline when you are older.

What is Design Thinking and how can teachers get started?

Tom Barrett provides an introduction to Design Thinking. He addresses what it is, its purpose and how it can help in education.

Schools are surveying students to improve teaching. But many teachers find the feedback too difficult to act on

Ilana Finefter-Rosenbluh, Melissa Barnes and Tracii Ryan discuss the challenge between collecting feedback and improving learning outcomes.

First Steps to Getting Started in Open Source Research

Giancarlo Fiorella provides a number of tips for getting started with open source research.

Can “Distraction-Free” Devices Change the Way We Write? 

From literary Rube Goldberg workflows, distraction-free text editors and e-ink tablets, Julian Lucas dives into the world of distraction-free writing. He explores the friction between paper and computers, and the benefits and negatives associates with each.


Why it’s too early to get excited about Web3

Tim O’Reilly explains that investments and speculations in technology do not equate to success. The lay of the land is only visible years later.


Chris Johnson has created a site for discovering music that would not normally be surfaced by the Spotify algorithm.

Spotify Wrapped, unwrapped

Reflecting upon Spotify’s Wrapped, the yearly review, Kelly Pau reminds us of the place of algorithms and artificial intelligence embedded within these choices.

Learn from machine learning

David Weinberger compares the way in which the Western world has traditionally conceived of generalisations and certainty with the way in which machine learning works.

Turning Text into Music (A Small AI Experiment)

Kevin Hodgson dives into the world algorithmic music generation.


History is Over (Throughline)

With the anniversary of Kid A and Amnesiac, as well as Kid A Mnesia Exhibition, Rund Abdelfatah and Ramtin Arablouei speak with Stanley Donwood and Thom Yorke about legacy of albums.

Why U2’s One is the ultimate anthem

Dorian Lynskey dives into the many ambiguities associated U2’s song One.

The story of Paul Mac

From classical piano to Itch-E and Scratch-E to Dissociatives to Stereogamous to teaching at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Paul Mac has had a wide ranging career.

David Graeber’s Possible Worlds

Molly Fischer digs into the life and thinking of David Graeber, including how he got so things done on just five hours sleep a night.


Chris Beckstrom has put together a wide collection of electronic samples  derived from his modular setup.

Read Write Respond #071

So that was November/December for me, how about you? As always, hope you are safe and well.

Image by Bryan Mathers

Cover image via “Time Isles: Post Apocalyptic” by Brick.Ninja is licensed under CC BY-SA

📰 Read Write Respond #070

Welcome back to another month of magic or blood, sweat and tears. Depends who you ask.

At work, I have been continuing my work associated with improving the end of year process. This has involved a lot of time spent setting up data and capturing screenshots, only to have to do it all over again when somebody points out an issue. It all seems to be coming into place, however a part of me will be glad when we have burst the rocket through the outer atmosphere.

On the family front, my wife and I have both had our second jabs and have started the long road out of lockdown. This has included getting out to Bunnings, catching up with relatives and having a few park dates. Associated with this, the children are back to school. However, it only took three days for the school to be shutdown. With so many cases still in the local community, still seems premature to be popping any champagne.

Personally, I have read a number of books this month, including Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, Tony Martin’s Lolly Scramble, Albert Camus’ The Plague and Dave Grohl’s The Storyteller. In regards to music, I have been listening to new albums from Client Liason and Herbert. My wife and I also binged our way through The Crown and Maid. In respect to tinkering, I moved to AntennaPod for listening to podcasts and have been scratching my head about how to get all my self-mentions back on my site which mysteriously disappeared. Ah, the pleasure of owning your own space.

Here then are some of the posts that have had me thinking:


In the Pursuit of Knowledge, There Be Dragons

danah boyd explains why it is important to consider the limits of data and the biases embedded within visualisations.

Gary Paulsen Understood That Children Live in the World

Jonah Walters reflects on the life and legacy of author Gary Paulsen.

Why Alan Tudge is now on the history warpath

Naomi Barnes unpacks Alan Tudge’s challenge to the history curriculum.


Gary Stager discusses Coombabah State School and Methodist Ladies’ College, the first two schools to engage with the 1:1 laptop revolution.

Videogames or homework? Why not both, as ACMI has 75 game lessons for you to try

Amber McLeod and Jo Blannin discuss ACMI’s Games Lessons library.


How To Recognize When Tech Is Leading Us Down a ‘Slippery Slope’

Clive Thompson speaks with Evan Selinger about how to understand when technology is leading us down the slipery slope.

Drummer to WordPress

Frank Meeuwsen explores the intigration between Dave Winer’s new application Drummer and WordPress.

The Wrong Question

Chris Betcher on the importance of focusing on the verb not the noun when it comes to technology.

RSS Discovery Engine

Brandon Quakkelaar provides another potential for serendipity and possibly rewilding attention.


On the Internet, We’re Always Famous

Chris Hayes suggests that the star desires recognition from the fan, but as the star does not recognise the fan’s humanity, all they can ever receive is attention.

Rachel Roddy: An A–Z of Pasta Twenty-one letters, fifty shapes, unlimited possibilities (Eat This Podcast)

Jeremy Cherfas speaks with Rachel Roddy about all things pasta.

Real Dictators

The Real Dictators is a podcast series which dives into the world of some of histories infamous leaders.

Is mandatory COVID-19 vaccination ethical?

Margaret Somerville explores the ethics associated with mandatory vaccination.

Read Write Respond #070

So that was October for me, how about you? As always, hope you are safe and well.

Image by Bryan Mathers

📰 Read Write Respond #069

Here we are again. Same same but different, including my first experience of an earthquake.

I was reminded again that a month is a long time. My reading workflow is usually to progressively scour through my RSS feeds and anything that is too long to read at the time to save for later. This sometimes means that I may not get to a piece for a few weeks. One of the consequences of this is that what might have seemed important or significant no longer holds the same weight. For example, I had saved a few pieces on Gladys Berijlyin’s decision to cancel the daily lockdown briefings, yet now that she has since resigned it somehow seems strangely both less and more important.

In other news, my wife and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. Usually we would do something together, without the tiddlywinks, but in these strange times we both got gifts that could – alcohol aside – be shared by everyone. Our children also decided to celebrate the holidays by having sleepovers – in each others rooms. I guess we all need to find novelty somewhere in life. For me, it has been giving up coffee after our youngest told me I could not live without it. I will return, sometime.

On the work front, I could only sit back and wait for someone above me to take ownership for so long, so I have taken on the challenge of improving the end of year process, especially as their is an appetite for automation (or for it to be done by a whole lot of Mechanical Turks.) My manager was shocked when we had our first meeting as I had already done a significant amount of work. The biggest challenge I have had is getting other people to engage in the pain points. It is always the challenge of a large project, you can only control so much in a team game.

Personally, I have continued my return to reading. Diving into Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera, F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. In regards to music, I have been listening to new albums from Kacey Musgrave and the collaboration between Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine, as well as a playlist of all the songs mentioned in Damian Cowell’s Only the Shit You Love Podcast. In relation to writing, I have continued documenting some of my work with Google Sheets, including creating a catalogue of files and creating a template to efficiently review large sets of data. I also completed Ben Collins’ new REGEX course.

So other than all that, here are some of the posts that have had me thinking:


Giving time for students to think – using learning logs to guide student reflection

Alice Leung discussed her use of learning logs to support goals and reflection.

Counting learning losses

Ben Williamson explores what we actually talk about when we talk about ‘learning lose’.

Creativity Self-Assessment Is Nonsense

Wouter Groeneveld explains that creativity is not in what is created, but rather in the act of the critic.

What do we talk about when we talk about ‘data’ in schools?

Neil Selwyn unpacks what it is we talk about when we talk about data in education.

Decolonising Your Classroom: Five Ways Forward

Dr Aleryk Fricker provides five tips for undoing colonial structures, including make space for First Nations content, provide visibility of First Nations contexts and engage with the local First Nations community.


File Not Found

Monica Chin explores some of the changes in student habits when it comes to managing files and data. Where computers are traditionally organised into filing cabinets, this has been replaced for some by the habit of simply searching for the particular item.

Tears in Rain

Damon Krukowski discusses the difference between “pro-rata” verses “user-centric” when it comes to streaming music.

Wearable Computers Should Never Have Cameras

With the release of Facebook’s Ray Ban glasses, Clive Thompson discusses some of the problems associated with cameras in glasses.

Sheet Posting

Tyler Robertson has created an app with Glitch to use a Google Sheet to generate a blog with an associated feed. This includes options in regards to SEO and CSS.

You Don’t Need to Burn off Your Fingertips (and Other Biometric Authentication Myths)

Troy Hunt explains why stealling somebodies biomatric data is so much more difficult than a password.


Become a Better Digital Researcher: Tips From Tedium

Ernie Smith discusses how he conducts research for Tedium.

Brilliance and Blind Luck: How Did Medieval Europe Invent the Concept of Quarantine?

Edward Glaeser and David Cutler discuss the roll of quarantine in history in managing disease carried via trade and human movement.

Stem Mixer – Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett has shared her new songs as eight stems for listener to mix as they listen. Is this the future of music?

Powerful, local stories can inspire us to take action on climate change

Kamyar Razavi talks about the importance of giving flesh to the facts when it comes to global warming. Although fear can be a useful tool for mobilising people, storytelling helps with engaging at a more personal level.

From the clinical trial to role-playing games, why do some ideas arrive so late?

Tim Harford reflects on the ideas that were behind their time.

Read Write Respond #069

So that was September for me, how about you? As always, hope you are safe and well.

Image by Bryan Mathers

📰 Read Write Respond #068

Here we are, another month. Some things changed, some things still the same.

When I was in the classroom, it was always frustrating when another class was let out to play early or given ‘free time’. It is hard to get anyone to pay attention when a perceived injustice is at play. This is what it has felt like living through Melbourne’s sixth lockdown this month, while NSW moves onto life living life with COVID. Although there maybe a ‘national plan’, it would seem the reality maybe something different. To play on Orwell, “All States are equal, but some states are more equal than others.” All in all, it has been a terse reminder of the political nature of the current pandemic. In more positive news, I was lucky enough to get my first jab of AstraZeneca.

On the work front, I have been doing my best to get ahead of the game by creating some tools to analyse the data in preparation for the rush that is the end of year. As is often said, focus on what you can control.

Personally, I have been diving into a range of books. When you are stuck at home, it is useful to break up the monotony by exploring some other world.

In reading a novel, any novel, we have to know perfectly well that the whole thing is nonsense, and then, while reading, believe every word of it. Finally, when we’re done with it, we may find – if it’s a good novel – that we’re a bit different from what we were before we read it, that we have changed a little, as if by having met a new face, crossed a street we never crossed before. But it’s very hard to say just what we learned, how we were changed.

I have read Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, Chilly Gonzales’ Enya: A Treatise on Unguilty Pleasures and Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future. I have also been listening to Halsey’s If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, Kate Bush’s Before The Dawn, Lorde’s Solar Power, TFS’ Deep States and Damian Cowell’s Only The Shit You Love.

Here then are some of the other links and ideas that have had me thinking:


Teachers use many teaching approaches to impart knowledge. Pitting one against another harms education

Alan Reid raises three flaws with the argument that inquiry-based approaches harm student learning. He argues that teachers regularly move up and down the teacher-centred and student-centred continuum, that not all inquiry is the same and that the data used to form the position is problematic.

The ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the classroom

Naomi Fisher pushes back on the ‘what works’ mantra and instead argues that how and why matter just as much.

Feedback Is Oxygen For Your Ideas — Start With A Minimum Verbal Prototype

Tom Barrett discusses the importance of developing prototypes early on in a project in order to gain feedback and give oxygen to the ideas being developed.

The Rocks and Minerals of Minecraft

Jolyon Ralph explores the rocks and minerals in Minecraft comparing them to their real world examples.


Rewilding Your Attention

Clive Thompson discusses going beyond the ‘inner ring of the internet’ to instead engage with the activity of rewilding our attention online.

Now, On the Internet, Everyone Knows You’re a Dog – An Introduction to Digital Identity

Noah Katz and Brenda Leong provide an introduction to digital identity and where it maybe heading in the future.

Why are Hyperlinks Blue?

Elise Blanchard traces the history of hyperlinks being blue to Mosaic, Windows 3.1 and the support for colour monitors.

How Private Is My VPN?

Alfred Ng reports on the different ways in which VPN providers collect data on users.


Was US failure in Afghanistan inevitable?

Stephen Wertheim, Scott Stephens and Waleed Aly examine the Taliban’s retaking of Afghanistan and the US legacy.

The invisible addiction: is it time to give up caffeine?

Michael Pollan explains how we often overlook the impact caffeine has in creating a collected altered state that we have come to take for granted.

Save The Last Dance for Me (Australian Story)

On the back of the documentary The Last Dance, Australian Story explores Luc Longley’s legacy in the NBA and his ommision.

Town planners on a ‘crusade’ against TB could help us to redesign our cities post-COVID

Sarah Scopelianos reflects upon the changes made in regards to town planning one hundred years ago to combat tuberculous. She explores some of the possible changes including a move to more low rise appartments and the investment in open spaces.

Read Write Respond #068

So that was August for me, how about you? As always, hope you are safe and well and have been able to get your jab too.

Image by Bryan Mathers







📰 Read Write Respond #067

Another month, another series of snap lock-downs. Work wise, I was about to be pulled back into the office full time, instead it is a return to working from home with the kids for company. It has been interesting to see them adjust and adapt to the new expectations. It is now about waiting for the supply of vaccines in Australia to catch-up to demand.

Personally, I read Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 and Cory Doctorow’s Radicalized. I also listened to new albums from Darkside and The Bleachers. In regards to my writing, I wrote a reflection on using Google Sheets to manage the little things.

Here then are some of the posts that have had me thinking:


Leading schools in lockdown: Compassion, community and communication

Fiona Longmuir explores the challenges associated with educational leadership during Melbourne’s long lockdown in 2020.

You Don’t Have Writer’s Block. You Have “Reporter’s Block”

Clive Thompson makes the argument that the answer to writer’s block is more research.

Differentiating online variations of the Commonplace Book: Digital Gardens, Wikis, Zettlekasten, Waste Books, Florilegia, and Second Brains

Chris Aldrich traces this history of commonplace books through Western civilization.


Cory Doctorow reflects upon the monopolisation of the book publishing industry and the perils associated with self-publishing.


We Need To Talk About The Insecurity Industry

Edward Snowden responds to news of the Pegasus Project, arguing that incentivise change and introduce a level of liability.

Co-constructing Digital Futures: Parents and Children becoming Thoughtful, Connected, and Critical Users of Digital Technologies

W. Ian O’Byrne, Kristen Turner, Kathleen A. Paciga and Elizabeth Stevens share findings based on case studies stemming from their own digital parenting with a focus on how we might empower children to advocate for their own rights, rather than focusing the conversation around fear and harm.

Planning the Exodus from Platform Realism

Ben Grosser discusses the need to turn away from private for-profit platforms to more public entities whose interest is not profit.

4 Lessons From the Improbable Rise of QR Codes

Clive Thompson reflects on the rise of QR Codes from being something of a gimmick to an actual solution to a problem during the pandemic.


Bullshit Ability as an Honest Signal of Intelligence

A team of Canadian researchers have presented some preliminary findings associated with ability to bullshit and its association with intelligence. Through their study, they found that the ability to bullshit was an honest signal of a persons ability to ‘successfully navigate social systems’.

Why Can’t We Be Friends

Brendan Mackie talks about the idea of parasociality and our one way conversations online.

How ‘Soft Fascination’ Helps Restore Your Tired Brain

Markham Heid discusses the importance of finding balance in our attention diet. He divides these activities into hard and soft fascinations. Not sure the Groundhog Day grind of lockdown helps with this balance.

Plunging Into the Abyss

Douglas Rushkoff reflects upon how people of all types and backgrounds are falling under the conspiracy fever. He explains that it is not about the truth, but rather the addiction of finding a missing piece of information in order to receive a hit of endorphin.

How streaming made hit songs more important than the pop stars who sing them

Charlie Harding explains how the focus for artists in the past was getting played on radio, nowadays it is on social media platforms and playlists.

Read Write Respond #067

So that was July for me, how about you? As always, hope you are safe and well in these crazy times.
Bryan Mathers' sketch

📰 Read Write Respond #066

So here we are again.

I managed to scrape my way to the end of the school term. For the last few weeks I have felt like a boxer successfully avoiding the full impact associated with a barrage of punches, but never properly regaining their balance. If it was not academic reports, then it was attendance, while if it wasn’t attendance, then it was the parent portal. I often wonder what a mature solution might look like and keep coming back to the importance of building capacity. Something easier said than done. Time will tell.

On the home front, I learnt the importance of using the right tool for the task. I have spent the last few months using a handsaw to cut down some trees at the back of our property. It got down to the stumps so we borrowed a small electric chainsaw. As I wonder what is currently wrong with my elbow, I am left thinking I should have borrowed the chainsaw earlier. It also made the process of loading the green waste into 10 cubic metre skip so much easier.

Personally, it was again another dry month on the blogging front. In regards to reading, I started Catch 22. While with music, I have been listening to both Marina and Garbage’s new albums.

Here then are some of the posts that had me thinking:


Emily and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Professional Development Session

Emily Fintelman poses a series of questions to consider when running professional development.

The Wonder of Writing: what writing a children’s book taught me about teaching writing

Kath Murdoch reflects upon the experience of writing a children’s book and provides a list of lessons learnt along the way.

The Middle Leader Manifesto: What 160 Leaders Say Matters

Ewan McIntosh identifies what it takes to grow a middle leader.

Make Your Case Stronger – Argue Against Yourself

Pam Thomson provides a series of negative strategies to get from a first to a second draft. Although focused on those writing research, it is a useful strategy for all ages.


typelit.io is a site that gets you to practice typing by reproducing classic pieces of literature.


The Tom Cruise deepfake that set off ‘terror’ in the heart of Washington DC

With the popularity associated with Deepfake Tom Cruise videos, Mark Corcoran and Matt Henry take a dive into the world of deepfakes.

What Really Happened When Google Ousted Timnit Gebru

Tom Simonite digs into the complex series of events that led to Timnit Gebru (and Margaret Mitchell) being ousted from Google’s AI team starting with her fleeing Ethiopia in the late 90’s.

Google Photos is so 2020—welcome to the world of self-hosted photo management

Alex Kretzschmar unpacks the open source alternatives to Google Photos.

Minimum Viable Self

Drew Austin reflects upon the nature of digital identity and the need to continually sustain it.

What magic teaches us about misinformation

Tim Harford talks about the importance of paying attention as a means of seeing beyond the magic of misinformation.


Degrees of Uncertainty – A documentary about climate change and public trust in science by Neil Halloran

Neil Halloran suggests that, even being sceptical of the data, we can be sure enough to say that drastic change is needed to curb global warming.

Rewilding: four tips to let nature thrive

Sophie Wynne-Jones, Ian Convery and Steve Carver published a set of guiding principles which specify what rewilding should involve and how it should be done.

A Cow with a Hole in It

Jess Zimmerman argues that rather than vulnerability in our writing, we should be aspiring for permeability.

What’s the Most Sustainable Diet?

After trialing a range of diets, Barry Estabrook reveals that the most sustainable strategy is to reflect upon your own life and identify aspects of change.

The ‘20-5-3’ Rule Prescribes How Much Time You Should Spend Outside

Michael Easter discusses the ‘20-5-3’ Rule for engaging with nature.

Read Write Respond #066

So that was June for me, how about you? As always, hope you are safe and well.
Bryan Mathers' sketch
Cover Image via justlego1O1 is licensed under CC BY-SA

📰 Read Write Respond #065

So here we are again. One week I am catching up with Richard Olsen and co for drinks in the city and then the next week we are in lock-down again. I remember reading about the hammer and the dance early on in the pandemic, where we lock-down to get on top of things and then dance with the ever changing rules and restrictions. The problem is, I do not think we are very good at dancing. Coming home from my night out, face-masks on public transport were near on non-existent. On top of that, the bar thanked me for clicking on the QR code at the door. Maybe he was just being courteous, but it did not feel like it.

In lock-down, I took our daughters for a ride. At the local reserve, there was a food truck set up with two guys selling take-away. Sadly though, there were no face-masks. I contacted the company privately raising my concern and got the following response:

Reason for not wearing face masks is none of you’re business.
I sincerely hope you were not scared.

I am not sure he quite understands how masks work. That I wear a mask for him and he and his colleague wear a mask for me. To be fair, my greater fear is not catching COVID from him, although it is a possibility, but rather that such small businesses will no longer exist if we do not all do our bit to get on top of things. Personally, I am able to work from home, so other than having to support our children with their learning, I am not impacted. Sadly, I am not sure everyone quite sees it that way.

On other matters, I have been listened to new albums by Olivia Rodrigo, Haerts and St. Vincent, but have found myself retreating to the more familiar with Estelle Caswell’s ode to gated reverb playlist. In addition to this, I have been tinkering with Google Sheets and XML, as well as started a few posts, but with jobs around the house and work at the moment, I seem to be failing with following through.

Here then are some of the posts that have had me thinking:


The Trouble with Teaching: Is Teaching a Meaningful Job?

John Danaher dives into his frustrations with teaching in a university setting, providing a provocation to reflect upon in respect to all aspects of learning and teaching.

Knitting a Healthy Social Fabric

danah boyd explores role played by schools in building the social fabric and democracy of the future.

Is De-Implementation the Best Way to Build Back Better?

Peter DeWitt reflects on the need to de-implement and take things off the plate in order to build back better.

Mapping Assessment

Ron Ritchhart provides a model for mapping assessment based on two dimensions: integration and evaluation.

On Rereading

Victor Brombert reflects upon the different forms of rereading and the uncanny experience of coming upon lost notes in the margins.


The Global Smartphone

A team of anthropologists spent a year conducting an ethnographic study in nine different countries documenting the ways in which smartphones are used by older people. The team come to the conclusion that the smartphone has come to represent the place where we live.

Pedagogy, Presence and Placemaking: a learning-as-becoming model of education.

David White talks about the issue of simply moving face-to-face learning online and the need to foster presence to help make online spaces places that foster learning.

YouTube’s kids app has a rabbit hole problem

Rebecca Heilweil takes a look at the way in which YouTube Kids and the autoplay function acts as a gateway to questionable content.

Data isn’t oil, so what is it?

Matt Locke suggests that we need more effective metaphors to help people understand the place and purpose of data in our world today.

On the temptation to nuke everything and start over

Influenced on Kin Lane’s decision to leave the past behind, Doug Belshaw reflects on the temptation to start over.


The Case for Letting People Work From Home Forever

Jaclyn Greenberg makes the case for a permanent move to working from home, while Cal Newport pushes back instead arguing for near-home locations.

Welcome Back, Darling

Kath Sullivan and Nathan Morris explore what it means to have water back in the Darling River. In contrast with the past few years of dry river beds, towns like Brewarrina, Wilcannia and Menindee have become energised once again.

In the Air Tonight’s influence, intrigue, and THAT drum break that endures 40 years on

Matt Neal reflects on the forty years since Phil Collins’ released In the Air Tonight and its ongoing legacy, especially in regards to gated reverb.

Tao of WAO

Laura Hilliger and Doug Belshaw have started a new podcast associated with their participation in We Are Open Co-op.

The Weaponization of Care

Autumm Caines discusses the way in which survelliance technology is packaged with notions of care as a way of normalising various practices.

Read Write Respond #065

So that was May for me, how about you? As always, hope you are safe and well.
Bryan Mathers' sketch
Cover Image via JustLego101

📰 Read Write Respond #064

Welcome back to another month. I hope you are well.

On the family front, April has been the month of celebrations – our eldest turned double digits, my grandfather turned ninety and my nephew turned one. Makes for a lot of celebrations, even in these strange times. With the house, I experienced the highs and lows of selling things online. We inherited a 10-person spa when we bought our house and I advertised it for $50 dollars. Clearly from the responses this was well under what it was worth, although it did cost $1000 to move. On a positive note, we had my wife’s upright piano delivered, which was nice addition.

At work, we returned to three days in the office, so I am back on public transport for the first time since the start of last year. It really makes me appreciate how lucky I have been to work from home for so long. Although it is nice to catch up with people, I am not sure there are many gains, especially when so much of my work is done alone. The other part of this puzzle has been expanding our support team. This has left me wondering how you jump on a moving train travelling at full speed. Is it about a clear vision to buy into? Collating the appropriate documentation to support theme? Or hiring the right person? The problem I have found is that the work is the work, the problem is that you do not really know what that work is until you are in the middle of it.

Personally, I have been listening to a number of albums, including Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s G_d’s Pee at State’s End!, London Grammar’s Californian Soil and Amy Shark’s Cry Forever. However, I was really taken by Julia Stone’s Sixty Summers and All India Radio’s Afterworld. Continuing on my Marvel journey, I have been binge-watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I started writing about making small tools to automate repeatable processes using Google Sheets, but as per usual, I have been too busy to fully flesh things out.

On other matters, here are some of the posts that have had me thinking:


Video Games as Literature

Quinn Norton asks the question, what is literature and where mediums like comics and games sit with this.

City of the Future

Daniel Summerell shares a unit of work that involves working collaboratively to design a city of the future within Minecraft.

Why bizarre milkshakes will never replace world-class consent education

Amanda Keddie discusses the Australian Government’s resource developed to help schools address the challenge of educating young people about respectful relationships and the problems she has with milkshakes.

When Real World Mapping Meets Tolkien

Dan Bell steps through the process of turning a real world map into something from Middle Earth.

What Good Leaders Do When Replacing Bad Leaders

Andrew Blum provides strategies for dealing with the transition between leaders.


Atlas of AI with Kate Crawford

Kate Crawford speaks about her new book, Atlas of AI. In it, she attempts to capture the human side of artificial intelligence, whether it be the resources, the workforce, history, datasets or the escape to space.

The Next Generation of Robots is Here

Clive Thompson dives into the world of robotics. This includes the development of the Unimate, the challenge of replicating the human hand, the innovative opportunity provided by the X-Box’s 3-D-sensing chip, and the financial incentive offered by pandemic.

Hackers Used to Be Humans. Soon, AIs Will Hack Humanity

Bruce Schneier discusses the findings of an investigation into the future of AI and hacking.

The Observatory of Anonymity

Cory Doctorow discusses the problems on anonymity of de-identified data over time.

30 Days of HTML

Jen Kramer and Erika Lee breakdown HTML one element at a time.


What should become of the office?

Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens speak with Gideon Haigh about his book The Momentous, Uneventful Day: A Requiem for the Office. With so many forced to work offsite during the pandemic, the three consider the current purpose of the office and its futute moving forward.

There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing

Adam Grant explains that mental health is a spectrum and in the middle between flourishing and depression is the feeling of languishing.

How to Rewild Your Balcony, One Native Plant at a Time

Jeff VanderMeer shares eight tips for rewilding your yard even when there is limited space.

I’ve learnt a lot from Bluey, but can the show be more representative?

Beverley Wang talks about the way in which she was blindsided by Bluey with its sense of mortality. She talks about the power of co-viewing and the learning opportunities that arise with this.

How Donald Trump Wanted the End of History

Rebecca Solnit looks back on Donald Trump’s legacy and reflects on his effort to ‘end history’.

Read Write Respond #064

So that was April for me, how about you? As always, love to hear.

Image by Bryan Mathers

Image via JustLego101

📰 Read Write Respond #063

Where did March go? Each month I reflect upon different aspects of life, however this month it feels as if everything has blended together. Whether it be moving, unpacking, tidying up our old house, fixing things in the new house, or supporting schools with this and that, it was little surprise that I got run-down. Life has its ways of communicating at times, especially when we may not want to listen.

Here then are some of the posts that have had me thinking:


On “Easy” Books…Again

Pernille Ripp addresses the conundrum of whether to allow readers to read ‘easy’ books. She suggests that the task is to develop people who want to read, not just who can.

COVID coaches: tutoring only works when backed by quality teaching directed at the students who really missed out

Jenny Gore explains that if the tutoring program being implemented by the Victorian and NSW governments is to work then it needs to involve quality teaching.

Story Dice – The Handy Story Idea Generator

Dave Birss has turned the classic story ideas dice into a digital generator. There are two versions: five and nine words.

Change in Education and What Needs to be Done

Stephen Downes addresses what is currently unsustainable in education and what is subsequently needed in regards to change.

How to remember more of what you read

Steve Brophy explains his use of Roam Research and the Zettelkasten methodology to develop a deeper dialogue with what he reads.


From Me to My

Olia Lialina traces a history of the people who challenged the architecture and protocols in the development of the web. He explains how this has evolved to a web focused on graphic design.

The mess at Medium

Casey Newton reports on Medium’s latest pivot, this time away from having its own editoral team, instead moving to a freelance model.

You Don’t Need Substack To Build an Email Newsletter

Ernie Smith goes beyond Substack and Mailchimp to discuss a number of options associated with managing newsletters.

Free Markets

Cory Doctorow reflects on his experience of running a campaign associated with the audiobook for Attack Surface and the challenges faced by a ‘free market’.


The Commute: Walking 90km to work

In response to being asked to give a lecture about adventuring, Beau Miles decided to walk the 90 km to work as a point of stimulus. By slowing down, he captures aspects of the environment that often get overlooked.

Blokes Will Be Blokes

Anna Spargo-Ryan discusses the crisis in Federal politics, suggesting that Scott Morrison’s response has been akin to “bringing home a bunch of flowers because you worked late again.


Doug Belshaw has created a new site collecting together links associated with the climate emergency.

1991 saw the music industry turned upside down, and 30 years later, its echoes remain

Matt Neal reflects on the impact of 1991 in music and how Nirvana and the grunge movement changed everything.

Digital Portfolios
Quote via Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano ‘Digital Portfolios and Content’
Image via “Lego Flickr Pic” by minifig https://flickr.com/photos/minifig/370602535 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

FOCUS ON … Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

I learnt recently about the passing of Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano:

Silvia was someone who helped me foster my understanding and appreciation of the power of blogging in and out of the classroom. In celebration I went back into my links and bookmarks to curate a list of posts that have inspired me:

Visible Thinking Routines for Blogging

Tolisano expands on thinking routines to help learners make thinking visible they blog.

What Do You Want to Know about Blogging?

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano responds to number of questions about blogging, such as how to start out in the classroom, setup precautions, develop a habit and extend your thinking beyond the simple view of blogging

Blogfolios: The Glue that Can Hold it All Together in Learning

Silvia Tolisano highlights the power of the blogfolio as a means of extending learning.

Digital Portfolios and Content

Tolisano unpacks a number of questions and considerations associated with digital portfolios.

10 Tips for Embedding Digital Portfolios as Part of your Classroom Habits

Tolisano provides some suggestions for getting going with blogging, including being patient, celebrate the skills and share the ownership with students.

Blogging as Pedagogy

In this presentation from BLC17, Tolisano shares ways in which blogging helpos support four primary areas: reading, writing, reflection and sharing. She also includes a rubric for blogging and commenting.

5 Opportunities to Amplify Your Writing

Tolisano discusses some of the ways in which digital medium allows us to re-think writing and reading experiences to amplify ideas, connections, references, and audiences.

The Three Stages of Documentation Of/For/As Learning

Tolisano explores the different stages of documentation. She splits it up into before where teachers decide focus, during where the work is documented and after where you act on the work captured.

Literacy and Documenting Learning

Tolisano produced a series of posts examining the effects documenting has on the awareness, skills and habits associated with digital literacies.

Amplify Reflection

Tolisano brings together a collection of routines, taxonomies, and prompts that support reflection in ourselves and give a variety of choices to grow as reflective, metacognitive learners.

Curation as an Educational Challenge

Tolisano discusses the importance of curation in the classroom. To support this, she provides a number of platforms and practices to use

Computational Thinking and Learning for Little Ones

Tolisano reflects upon her computational experience with her grand-daughter.

Sketchnoting FOR Learning

Tolisano unpacks the different elements associated with sketchnoting and the power to make thinking more visible.

Fit2Learn: Learning How to Learn

Silvia Tolisano‏ breaks the ability and preparedness to learn into six different aspects: mental training, physical training, process, fuel, injury and events.

Professional Development: Got a Twitter Minute?

Inspired by Sharon Bowman’s book The Ten Minute Trainer: 150 Ways to Teach it Quick & Make it Stick, Tolisano provides a series of one minute activities to do with Twitter during workshops.

A Scavenger Hunt to Connect and Document Learning

Using the GooseChase app, Tolisano documents the creation of a scavenger hunt to help participants with build their own personal learning network.

Building a PD Learning Hub for your School

Tolisano suggests that having a platform to document learning, organize and archive initiatives, action research, and institutional memory not only helps teachers with reflecting, but it also gives them a space to practice digital literacies.

#remotelearning- It’s Happening

Tolisano compiles all of her resources to support online / remote learning.

Read Write Respond #063

So that was March for me, how about you? As always, love to hear.

Bryan Mathers' sketch

Cover Image via Marcel Steeman

📰 Read Write Respond #062

February felt like it had it all. In Melbourne, we were thrown into a circuit breaker lockdown. In the middle of this, my wife and I were successful in buying a new home. Having lived in our current home for twelve years, I had forgotten how much is involved in getting things organised to move. I guess sometimes it pays to be naive or maybe a little ignorant, but it has definitely kept us busy.

On the work front, schools have been getting into the swing of things again finalising the end of last year, as well as all the census activities. One particular challenge I have is when people say they get what you are on about, but you know that it has not quite clicked. No matter how much you rush, I have found that building capacity takes times. The issue is that systems and deadlines do not always allow for such time.

Personally, I finished reading Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy and listened to a lot of Daft Punk. Sadly, long form writing.

Here then are some of the posts that have had me thinking:


A free chapter of The Data Detective audiobook

In this excerpt from The Data Detective, Tim Harford shares the importance of scientific curiosity when it comes to being a data detective.

50 Great Classic Novels Under 200 Pages

Emily Temple follows up her list of 50 short contemporary novels with a focus on classic novels.

Edtech sci-fi

Ben Williamson puts together a collection of science fiction texts which depict education.

Don’t Go Down the Rabbit Hole

Charlie Warzel profiles Mike Caulfield and his work with four moves and SIFT.


Facebook and the news: should the divorce be permanent?

In response to Facebook’s decision to temporarily remove all news in Australia, Waleed Aly, Scott Stevens and Belinda Barnet investigate whether if it is even right for news organisations to depend upon Facebook as the modern form of distribution in the first place.

An Appeal for Friction Writing

Richard Hughes Gibson pushes back on the frictionless experience to help foster clearer judgement.

American Idle

Eugene Wei takes a deep dive into the world of TikTok. He explores the the various features and the user experience. This includes the way in which creativity feeds creativity, the abstraction of a bunch of steps into an effects or filters (e.g. Duet feature), improvement on productivity, ability to easily remix based on length, the place of the network and comments in regards to context and success, the way in which the message is in the medium, and how TikTok is entertainment Cheetos.

Privacy Without Monopoly: Data Protection and Interoperability

In this EFF white paper, Bennett Cyphers and Cory Doctorow continue the conversation about adversarial interoperability and the means of breaking up big tech by opening it up to data flows that also have a focus on privacy.

Praxis and the Indieweb

Daniel Goldsmith reflects on the IndieWeb and where it is heading. He lays out a number of concerns and criticisms, including that you never really own your own data, that there is a design bias towards a few select individuals, that the technical requirements are too high and that cost is often exclusionary.


Beyond Burned Out

Jennifer Moss reflects on the results of a global survey on the impact of burnout during COVID-19.

How too much mindfulness can spike anxiety

David Robson reports on the growing research around mindfulness and its limitations. In particular, Robson criticises the one-size-fits-all approach that some take.

The masks, the music, the magic: remembering the genius of Daft Punk

With the release of Epilogue, Daft Punk have announced that they are calling it quits.

Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ Changed Political Pop Forever

Spencer Kornhaber discusses the legacy associated with Lady Gaga’s track Born This Way and the criticism raised about the song.

Read Write Respond #062

So that was February for me, how about you? As always, love to hear.
Bryan Mathers' sketch
Cover Image: “go go curiosity!” by Johnson Cameraface is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA